A determined Boys' Latin played four intense quarters on its own sunbaked field against an equally unrelenting St. Mary's squad yesterday.
In the end, Boys' Latin reaffirmed its status as a powerhouse by claim ing its third MSA A Conference Division II title in a row with an 8-6 victory over St. Mary's.
No. 4 Boys' Latin (11-3, 9-3) will make its eighth playoff appearance in 10 years. No. 5 St. Mary's (10-5, 8-5) finished second in the conference, a step up from last year's third-place showing.
The Lakers will play host to an over-achieving No. 2 Loyola squad and St. Mary's plays at No. 1 St. Paul's in the first round of the playoffs Tuesday.
Boys' Latin, known for its tough stickwork, finished with three penalties, one fewer than St. Mary's in a game that featured five holding penalties, one push and a slash.
"The penalties certainly took a lot of the momentum away from the game," said Saints coach Jim Moorhead. "Penalties take the ball away and make it harder to score when you're a man down."
Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver said: "I think that when you're fighting for the division, there tends to be more penalties. But we never backed down, and that's what won it for us."
St. Mary's offense opened with a high-octane first quarter. Sophomore attackman Danny Collins scored unassisted at 5:22 for a 1-0 lead. Junior attackman Kevin Gattie (16 goals, 8 assists) scored his first goal 2:35 later for a 2-0 lead.
Boys' Latin slowed the pace and scored in each of the final three minutes of the first quarter.
A stick-checking defense, led by senior Todd Quenzer, knocked a loose ball to midfield where senior Andy Sharretts picked it up and raced 30 yards for a 2-1 score.
Sophomore attackman Scott Hochstadt scored from the crease at 1:03 to tie the game and a double-teamed John Fuller gave Boys' Latin a 3-2 edge with 19 seconds left.
St. Mary's and Boys' Latin traded goals in the second quarter, as Collins added his second of the game at 7:05 to tie the score before Boys' Latin moved one ahead, 4-3, on sophomore attackman Brad Gilroy's extra-man goal, which was assisted by junior midfielder Tom Roberts, at 3:47.
St. Mary's threatened at 6:26 in the third. After losing the ball in the crease, junior midfielder Todd Vizcarrondo stole the ball back and fed senior midfielder Kevin Reichardt to tie the game at 4-4.
Senior midfielder Matt Proutt responded by scoring back-to-back unassisted goals at 4:49 and :42 to put up a two-goal wall, 6-4, between Boys' Latin and the Saints.
The Lakers and Saints traded two goals each in the fourth quarter. Proutt scored his final goal at 5:32, 1:59 after Fuller added his second.
St. Mary's opened the scoring at 9:33 on Gattie's second goal and Vizcarrondo's second assist. Vizcarrondo ended the scoring with 3:59 left.